President Klaus Iohannis reiterated on Friday he will run for a new term in the presidential elections and announced his objectives for this year.
“We begin the year 2019, a year with a lot of challenges, and we start practically directly with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Next week, we will have the European Commission visit to begin this Presidency with force. I am convinced that we will do it well. As early as May, we will have the first elections – the European Parliamentary elections, and now I want to say that it is very important to participate in these elections. The more voters are present at these elections, the more clearly the result will be. At year’s end, we will have presidential elections and I reiterate what I said, I will compete for a new term of office,” the president said at the Cotroceni Palace.
“Throughout 2019, the great objectives I have, which are the objectives of Romania, are deeper and better European integration, strengthening our position within NATO and perhaps even succeeding in this year to have a strengthening of NATO presence on the eastern flank, which would certainly be very good for us. And one of the great, very important goals for me and in 2019 is the consolidation of the rule of law in Romania, which means, obviously, the continuation of the fight against corruption. Personally, my goal for the presidential elections is to win a second term as president of Romania,” said Iohannis.
The head of state said he was optimistic about his candidacy for a new mandate, saying he was not afraid of any opponent.
“Yes, I am very optimistic. I do not fear any other opponent. I am never afraid of opponents. Elections are elections. Who wants to get a mandate must present as a candidate. I will present myself and I am optimistic,” said Iohannis.
Asked about a presidential race against PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea, the head of state replied: “I think any electoral race has a route we know, with an electoral campaign, but in the end it is important what voters want and at the end 2019 we will know what president Romanians wanted.”
He also said he is backed by the PNL in the presidential race and that the discussion for a higher support will be held.
“This is certainly a discussion that can be held, but the support of Romanians is important,” Iohannis stressed.
President Iohannis says will reject nominations of Vasilescu, Draghici for Development, Transport ministers
Iohannis on Friday also announced that he will reject the government nominations in order to appoint Lia-Olguta Vasilescu for minister of Development and Mircea Draghici for Transport minister.
“I haven’t formulated a denial answer yet, because this is going to be, I will reject the nominations from the prime minister, because here we have legality arguments, along opportunity arguments as well. My team are working on this analysis, and yet by the middle of the next week I shall reveal the reasons included for which I will refuse the prime minister’s proposals,” the president said at the Cotroceni Palace, in a statement.
When asked if the fact that the two nominees have criminal files would be an argument for the denial, president Iohannis answered: “You’ll be able to learn about these arguments in the reasoning I shall present publicly.”
Regarding a possible talk with Premier Viorica Dancila on this refusal, President Iohannis said he intends to talk to her every time she reaches for him in matters that regard the government.
“During the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union, on European topics I’ll be careful to both have stances that help us accomplish this presidency successfully,” Iohannis added.
“I will not revoke Augustin Lazar as prosecutor general”
He also announced on Friday he would not revoke Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar.
“The Minister of Justice, having no other work to do, has sent me again the documents of revocation (…) I will not revoke Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, he does a very good job there, I am pleased,” said Iohannis at the Cotroceni Palace.
He argued that the request for revocation does not respect the rigors of the law.
“No draft budget, this is serious problem”
President Klaus Iohannis on Friday criticised the lack of a draft budget, saying it is a serious problem and the Social Democrat Party (PSD) must produce some explanations.
“It is a serious matter. I put this question in December and I’m asking it again. Where is the draft budget? The PSD was at rule all this time. The PSD has had all conditions and should have brought, according to the laws in force, by 15 November with the draft budget. At this moment there is no draft budget. On the contrary, instead of getting busy with the budget, because everybody needs a budget for the current year, because it is late already, (the PSD, ed. n.) are dealing with switching heads of the (Tax Administration Agency, ed. n.) ANAF and from other positions, which makes me think dearly. Perhaps the budget is facing some issues. These things need to be explained urgently by the PSD and they should come with a draft budget,” President Iohannis said in a statement at the Cotroceni Palace.
The president was quizzed whether an extraordinary session of the Parliament is needed.
“It would be helpful for all of the steps to be made so that we have a budget on 2019 as soon as possible. But this is not the Parliament’s job, firstly the gov’t has to come with a draft budget after which, obviously, the Parliament could decided when it addresses it,” Iohannis said.
CCR cannot be notified about decree on extending Chief of Defence Staff mandate
He also stated that the extension of the Chief of Defence Staff General Nicolae Ciuca’s mandate is a very good solution “perfectly legal and according to the Constitution.”
“I don’t see how the Constitutional Court could be notified about this. I signed the decree, because the law allows me to do it. The law specifies this very clearly: the mandate of the Chief of the Defence Staff can be extended. First of all, the law doesn’t say anywhere that the President must wait for a proposal from the Minister to extend the Chief of the Defence Staff. Second of all, you do realize what would have happened if Romania had no chief of army. This is unacceptable and impossible and the PSD [Social Democratic Party, part of the ruling coalition] was incapable of coming with a serious proposal, so now they can sit and think some more about it. I can’t stay in Romania if there is no chief of army, which is the reason for which I prolonged General Ciuca’s mandate, who did a very good job in his four years. I am very peaceful with him as the chief of the army for another year. It seems to me this is a great solution, a solution that is also perfectly legal and according to the Constitution,” said Iohannis.